NFPA 70E 2018 Update: What do you need to know?

January 1st doesn’t just mark the turning of the calendar and beginning of our struggle to stop writing “2017”. It also denotes the day that many new policies, procedures, laws, and regulations officially take effect. Everything from new tax codes to pumping your own gas in Oregon can change the way we go about business.  It’s an important time to review our processes to ensure we are in compliance with the latest guidance. One change that may have slipped by you is the 2018 update to NFPA 70E.

If you’re not familiar, NFPA 70E is the consensus standard that helps workplaces address electrical hazards (shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast) and stay in compliance with OSHA regulations. NFPA 70E was developed at the request of OSHA and it is the standard OSHA will use during any enforcement action to determine if an employer acted reasonably. Does this impact your organization? Well, if your workplace has any electrical hazards, and most do, you fall under the guidance of NFPA 70E.

The 2018 update to NFPA 70E includes the consideration of “human error” in the risk assessment procedure. This new requirement is found in section 110.1 (H)(2) which states “Human Error. The risk assessment procedure shall address the potential for human error and its negative consequences on people, processes, the work environment, and equipment”.  For those who are not familiar with “human error” or the human performance methodologies designed to minimize human error, NFPA 70E includes a new Annex Q: Human Performance and Workplace Electrical Safety. This is a big change and Annex Q is there to help the reader by providing an introduction to Human Performance.

The 2018 update is an important shift to address one of the most critical parts of worker safety; the worker. Previously, the risk assessment was focused on equipment, inspections, signage, PPE, and procedures while the behavior of the worker was not considered. Now our risk assessments (work planning, procedures, job briefs, job hazard analysis, pre-job briefs, etc.) will have to address human error and how it is mitigated through Human Performance methodologies.

If you are unfamiliar with Human Performance this can seem like a daunting undertaking. The good news is, Knowledge Vine has been successfully helping organization standup Human Performance processes for years; this is what we do and we are the best at doing it. So, what’s next?

If this sounds like “not my job” then please share this article with the person in your organization (safety engineer, compliance officer, safety team leads, HR, supervisor, manager, etc.) who needs to be aware of the new guidelines. If this is your organizational role there are a couple of things you can do. If you’re ready to attack this, give us a call at 228-778-7362 or email us at We can assess your organization needs and help you get compliant, but more importantly, safer. If you are still in the “information gathering” stage, take a look at NFPA 70E Annex Q and then take a look at our website, You will discover that there is almost perfect alignment between the new guidance and our daily passion for Human Performance. Knowledge Vine knows where you need to go, what are the pitfalls along the way, how to implement it in your organization, how to measure progress, and how to recognize success.

Please spread the word and let’s have a safe and productive new year.